Consider the Lillies

manna“He wakens me morning by morning.” Isa. 50:4.

As I sit at my desk this morning, the bright sunshine is streaming through the double windows, and I can see the scenes of nature telling me that spring is here, although a little behind because of the cold, wet weather we have had for over a week. It reminds me of the poetic description found in SS. 2:11, 12:

“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”

I woke up a little earlier than usual this morning, for which I am grateful, since it gave me a little more study time. Not long after I began my worship, the phrase, “the bond of perfection,” kept repeating in my mind, so I decided to look it up. What developed after that was such a joy to me that I decided to share it with you. I hope it will bring a smile to your heart, as well.

“Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity (love - NIV), which is the bond of perfectness.” Col. 3:12-14.

robeAs I read this, the thought came to me, “This is the robe of Christ’s righteousness spelled out in words! The NIV uses, “Clothe yourselves,” in verse 12. Jesus has provided the robe of His character, but we must put it on! This is reflected in Rev. 7:14: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” KJV. And again in Rev. 19:7, 8: “His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)” NIV.

Now, we know that of ourselves, we have no righteousness; and without a connection with Jesus, we cannot be consistently kind, meek, humble, longsuffering, forbearing, etc. But that is just the point. It is not our righteousness that we put on, but His. But how can this happen? What is the key to acquiring these heavenly graces?

To answer this, I looked up the word, BOND, as used in Col. 3:14.
Strong’s Conc.: 4886 - fr. 4862; a joint, tie, ligament, uniting principle.
4862 - denoting union; with or together, by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, instrumentality, addition, etc:–beside, with.
4885 - fr. 4862 & 837; to increase, grow up together, grow together.
837 - to grow, enlarge:–grow up, increase.

In other words, this bond of perfection is a growing principle resulting from a close relationship with Jesus, a walk with Him, learning about Him, learning to love Him, assimilating His characteristics as we associate with Him, until His life becomes ours. In this way we put on His robe of righteousness! Isn’t that full of joy?

In fact, Jesus speaks of this when He says in Matt. 6:28 & Lu. 12:27:

lily“Consider the lilies, how they grow.” The word “grow” here is 837. The lily is a strikingly white flower which can grow on the surface of ponds that have muddy, unpleasant water. So we can live for Jesus in an unpleasant environment if we are in connection with Him. It is love that makes the difference - His love for us, and our love for others as His thoughts and feelings become ours.

But there is one more precious insight from this study that capped it off for me. The word “lily” in Hebrew comes from 7799 and 7797. 7799 emphasizes the whiteness of the lily. But 7797 deeply touched my heart and motivated me to desire to imitate the lily in my life. It means: to be bright, cheerful:–glad, greatly, joy, make mirth, rejoice. Don’t you want to join with me in making this your goal every day?

“To each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…. so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then…. we will in all things grow (837) up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body…. grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Eph. 4:7-16. “Consider the lilies — how they grow!”